The Water Replies - Journals

Saturday 22nd May 2021 to
Sunday 13th June 2021

The Water Replies - Journals

The Water Replies is a participatory journaling and creative writing project, being shaped and led by poets Selina Nwulu and Caroline Bird.

The project has been inviting creative responses in the form of journals from people of all ages living in the towns and villages along the estuary coastlines of Essex and Kent.  450 journals have been sent out to capture life by the estuary with words and images since March 2020 - just before the first UK lockdown was announced.

The feeling of connection to the estuary among those taking part has given the project heightened significance and importance for many during this first, and subsequent lockdowns. 

An online archive
We have now received these journals back, to share with you as part of our festival programme.  Covid-19 restrictions mean that it is impossible for us to exhibit the books as a seires of reading rooms in venues across Kent and Essex.  Instead, each book has been carefully filmed for audiences to read through and enjoy - these will be presented as an online gallery on this website - published on 22 May at the start of the festival. 

Posters and murals
Alongside, a series of painted murals with quotes taken from selected journals,  and designs to create posters to share across bus-stops, on buses, at railway stations and shop windows will pop up across the estuary geography.  

A window exhibition
A rotating selection of the original journals will be on exhibition via window displays at Chalkwell Hall (Metal's HQ in Chalkwell Park, Southend on Sea).  Come and see first hand the colour, emotion, commitment and inventiveness of our creative journallers. 

The Water Replies - publication and future plans
As part of this project, Caroline and Selina created a publication, The Water Replies: Notes on Teaching Contemporary Poetry.  Our original plan had been to work within schools and with young people across South Essex and North Kent to write poetry in response to the Thames Estuary, guided and inspired Selina and Caroline. This plan became unstuck when schools across the UK closed as Covid-19 became a reality and we had to look for a new way to continue The Water Replies. This book developed, in direct consultation with teachers and written by Caroline and Selina.  It is designed to inspire and support the creation of poetry with school pupils - but can be used by anyone interested to give poetry a go. It is a beautiful set of provocations, thoughts, ideas and some original works selected by Selina and Caroline designed to release the poet in all of us.

The pandemic continues to delay this work in schools in the way that we had planned - and so, this book awaits, ready to be published and distributed when teachers and schools are ready once more.  

In the meantime - should any teachers, schools - or anyone interested - wish to download a digital copy - this is available HERE.

To accompany the book, we have also put together an online collection of worksheets, poems and teaching resources suitable for a broad range of ages, subjects and abilities.

To download all our free resources (PDF version of the book and our online worksheets), click here.
We look forward to sharing hard copies of the book later this year, when schools are reopened.

If you had any questions, please do get in touch :
[email protected] (for teachers in South Essex)
[email protected] (for teachers in North Kent). 

When

Saturday 22nd May 2021 to
Sunday 13th June 2021
11:00 - 17:00

Where

South Essex & North Kent

SS08NB

Travel

This project will be available online - as well as at various sites through posters, murals and a window exhibition across the estuary geography

Previous Key Partners
The Water Replies - Poetry

Estuary 2021 is made possible by

Principal Partners

Creative_Estuary_New_1   ace

Major Partners

ecc uok thurrock thames_gateway selep medway  thames estuary   ebbsfleet    mayor locatekent kentcc gravesham uoe bas_coun   south_coun Here for Culture

Commissioning Partners

book_fest community_fund heritage_fund creative_coast bexleysalford fpg lesnes Essex2020Logo The Old Waterworks Logo UCA1

Festival Partners

arts_human uni_south uni_oxford uni_glas send_pier pla opp_se henley c2c roh southeastern Thamesmead2 Peabody2 BowArts3

Festival Supporters

essex_diversity   raddison   uber SouthEssex1 UniversityCentre1